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in 2013 


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Faculty Advisor 


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Assistant Editor 

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Design Editor 

Editorial Board 

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Editorial Board 

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Editorial Board 

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Editorial Board 


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To all the students who submitted your work to Argus this year, thank 
you - without your willingness to share your creative works and, 
through them, your Voices with us, we could not provide Northwestern 
with a literary magazine each year. 

Thank you to each of our yearly volunteers: all of this year's judges, for 
your time, thoughtful consideration, and unique perspectives; Mr. Gary 
Hardamon, for photographing the art for reproduction on the pages 
of the magazine again this year. To those of you who were willing to 
judge if we needed you, we appreciate your willingness to step in. 

We are especially grateful to our continued supporters year after year, 
such as the faculty of the Fine and Graphic Arts Department and the 
Department of Language and Communication. Neither the continued 
assistance, support, and encouragement to the staff members 
working on the magazine, nor the motivation you give to students to 
submit pieces for consideration, goes unnoticed. 

A special thanks to Larrie King for his continued interest in Argus, first 
as a student and now as an instructor. 

Dr. Sarah McFarland and Ms. Bobbie Jackson, thank you for all you 
do for us: from letting staff members into the office and stopping by to 
make us laugh, to the technical aspects involved in publishing Argus 
that happen behind the scenes and away from the eyes of even the 
staff members. 

Dr. Lisa Abney, Acting Provost and Vice President of Academic and 
Student Affairs, you share in our victories and frustrations, always with 
a hug, and that means more than we can express. Thank you for your 
unwavering support to both Argus as a literary magazine and each of 
us as individuals. 

For another year of assistance and guidance, for yet another Argus 
staff, Dr. Julie Kane: thank you. Each year has its own unique 
situation and, although the staff changes out, you patiently help each 
staff through the experience as they learn what you've taught before. 
As always, we could not have done it without you. 

Qaaoa. JtAfy 2010 

1*0* ** 


When Erin brought me a flyer that said, "Submit your creative 
work to /Argus and let your Voice be heard," she didn't realize that 
she was setting the theme for this year's issue. But she did. We 
toyed with "Voices" and everything that it could represent. The 
more we thought about it, the more we liked the idea of "Voices" 
and producing an issue of Argus designed to embrace, highlight, 
and celebrate the many voices that Argus represents as the 
campus literary magazine. 

Sarah had a challenge putting this abstract idea of "Voices" and 
the diversity they are associated with into a design to form a 
cohesive book. It's been a journey; design concepts were 
imagined and rethought until the theme you now see evolved. As 
you read through the pages of Argus 2010, it is our hope that you 
get the sense of many "Voices" joining in one refrain to celebrate 
the differences we share. 

In this issue you will find the "Voices" of your peers: from the high 
school student taking college classes to the nontraditional 
graduate student going back to school, the brokenhearted and 
the love struck, the student who likes to be on the playing field 
and the one who prefers to be in the library, and everyone in 
between. As such, we know that no one will connect with every 
piece. It is our hope, however, that all can connect with 
something and feel that each unique voice is represented in 
some way. 


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The voices of NSU's student body are in and I am so 
grateful for the opportunity to experience the talent, insight, 
and the soul of every artist on our campus. The chance to work 
behind the scenes of the Argus was a whirlwind of creativity and 
pride in gathering such inspirational works into one magazine. 
Every submission was different just as each of us has a unique 
voice. The challenge to bring the magazine together required 
effort from each dedicated staff member and the incredible 
design team to find the connections between the pieces 
entrusted to us, a connection we hope to have between you, the 
reader, and the magazine itself. 

I thank Katie Magaha for trusting me with the responsibility of 
filling the assistant editor's shoes and her support when I felt lost, 
which was quite often. I would also like to thank the whole Argus 
staff for fulfilling their roles with open minds and persistent loyalty 
to the magazine. Finally, I would like to give a special thanks to 
the artists and writers for your submissions and for sharing your 
passion with Argus and the rest of the NSU demons. 



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Argus has been published for years now, so when I was approached 
about designing for it I was overjoyed. Designers dream about having this 
opportunity. This experience has taught me a great deal and it is one that 
I will never forget. 

When I was told the theme of Argus was going to be "Voices" my first 
thought was a journal. I wanted this book to reflect a diary or sketchbook 
of some sort, with cut outs and drawings. I wanted it to appear as though 
a group of people were writing their stories in this book. 

I would like to thank Katie and the rest of the Argus staff for giving me this 
opportunity to design Argus. I would also like to thank Larrie King for all of 
his guidance and support. 






Andi McKay Boyd is a Northwestern State University alumnus and 
past editor of the /Argus. Currently, she lives in San Marcos, Texas, 
and is pursuing her MFA in Poetry at Texas State University. 

Dr. James A. Crank is an Assistant Professor of American literature 
and the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of 
Language and Communication. He teaches a wide range of courses 
that usually relate to one of three main areas: American literature and 
culture (including issues of ethnicity, sexuality, and class), Southern 
literature and culture, and Film Studies. 



Megan Karl is an alumnus of Northwestern State University. She 
graduated in 2006 with her B.A. in English. Since then, Megan spent 
a year teaching, and now she and her husband live and work in 

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Dr. Sarah E. McFarland agrees with Marianne Moore that poetry "can 
present for inspection imaginary gardens with real toads in them." 
She is Acting Head of the Department of Language and 
Communication and teaches American and environmental literature 
at NSU. 

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Dr. Gary Bodie enjoys teaching medieval literature, including Beowulf, 
Chaucer, and Arthurian literature, as well as other Old and Middle English 
literature. His other interests involve dangerous activities; he may have 
competed in the 1984 Winter Olympics downhill racing and won a bronze 
medal or won a bull-riding championship at some point in his life. Or, Dr. 
Bodie enjoys a good joke and keeping people guessing. 

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Dr. J. Rocky Colavito is a professor of English and Director of University 
Writing Programs at Butler University. His research spans the spectrum of 
advertising to contemporary zombie fiction. 


Chandler Crook is a graduate of NSU who served as assistant editor and 
illustrator of the Argus during college. She is an avid reader and writer. 
Her works have appeared in the Argus, Protest Poems, and most recently 
a story of hers has been selected for an anthology of women. Chandler 
now lives in California, and is working towards teacher certification. 

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Dr. Lisa Abney is the Acting Provost and Vice President of Academic 
and Student Affairs at NSU. She also teaches courses in Linguistics 
and Folklore for the Department of Language and Communication and 
her research areas focus upon linguistics, folklore, and literature of the 
American South. The short story is her favorite genre with which to work. 
She enjoys the opportunities she has to work directly with students, both 
teaching in the classroom and solving problems in the office for her "Dear 


Visual Arts 

Matt DeFord is a mixed-media sculptor who joined the art faculty at NSU 
in 2005. Matt received his MFA in Sculpture at Kansas State University in 
2004, and a BFA in Sculpture at Brigham Young University in 2001 . His 
work touches on mortality and its limitations, the importance of our 
connectedness with each other. He loves to eat and spend time with his 
wife Julie and their five children. 

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Leslie Gregory Gruesbeck serves as Assistant Professor of Art and 
Gallery Director for the Department of Fine & Graphic Arts. Argus is a 
publication near to her heart as she served as editor of the publication for 
two terms. 

Larrie L. King Jr. is completing his first year as an Assistant Professor of 
Design for the NSU Department of Fine & Graphic Arts. He earned both 
his BFA and MA degrees at NSU in Graphic Communications, and served 
as Design Editor for Argus for three years. When not working in graphic 
design, he enjoys painting, music, and reality television competitions. 

Michael Yankowski has degrees from the University of Wisconsin and 
Louisiana Tech, and has been teaching art at NSU forever. He says that 
the students keep him young. He continues to do work as a graphic 
designer and enjoys creating art, building guitars, and playing music. 

1 4 Abuela masdUda. ~Pa«jjul 

1 5 Anhelo Katuu -m^ojia. 

1 6 Stranger KadLa n*datt 

1 9 Barefoot Haiku Xnutuux. •m.c&mdsb 

20 Untitled $<$, mcd!^ 

22 Self Portrait JoWl cLauu. 

23 The Accidental Hero Jhmoud. /W 

24 Lost Cat *runW^ Gkmuo- 

28 Space Age Malaise djuovu*, Jkutku- 

29 Dream Bearer Vui CmwMl, 

30 The Real Terror jj*A/l ^i 

34 Owen Lea lYioMub. ^auMjl 

35 Spring Branch Supper Club *^&w. -m.c£^djb 

36 Cancer HojubM. lA&Mvudi 
38 Entropy Blossoms into Eternity o^W- -m 

42 Midnight Inferno *^ifL Jv^duto, 

43 The Light Inside ^W^«vl 

44 The Parka *>tuiW •m.c&mcUb 

45 Lessons *a&^ CLtMdtA**. 

46 And So This Is Christmas 
48 Biography ilcuLdsMlAtdvudi 

50 CoyOte jfabmtl jSuJImw 

51 Carolyn rtidi*h± GwtMjb 


52 Pearl of Dunes VuiCwuMju 

54 Winged Prayer (^ ~m.<Mpai 

55 Into The Blue, Blue Sky QnuutM, nteuujui 

56 Inter Aquam Ignimque Stat JiMath* jdattn, 

57 Three Days at Stonewash Creek djuoa^ Jh/tku- 

64 Prey iowUm. m.c&udb 

65 The Ralph -mut^OiU^ 

66 Clouds Ahead Ka^^wJU 

67 Distribution (j<al»ui. frvuu. 

68 Untitled ^rb^J^jjj^ 

69 Caught in the Moment ^o£i;£W^Mt 

70 Weller's Barn and the Cloudy Day Qvom* fyua* 

71 Mind If I Sleep Here? HMrt*. WoMa 

72 Lights -flkhatu. CmuoMju 

73 Complementary Colors tmJL ~h<w*aM. 

74 Literati iUjubSL IalcOlkch 

75 Evolution frjiuvSMi, 

76 Forgetting Jamz ifajMs/i 

78 Classifieds <W £W*u.<i 

79 Finishing Last Ji*ux Ewtm 

80 Ode to Urania's Daughter §t$ -mcMfut 


83 Elephants and James Dean Aren't Impressive Like Us KunHrf^ c*ua+ 

84 The Truth About Fairytales *Wai£ ^flW 

86 Sharing is Caring d/utAt^ Jtw<fcu, 

87 Swing -rUhtLj. GwaSk, 

88 Ain't Got No jjhxu^jtdp. Jbu^jt 

90 Just the Facts Ma'am jdoJrAjjd jduJL^ 

91 Jenny Kines HojubM. lAtdvudi 

94 Ford -fnpJLuA-n Souvuu. 

96 Thief -Ji^^ia. Swu>/i 

97 Weller's Barn ^vtm^^-iuu. 

98 The Collected Letters of Reggie P. Zephyr (UdMb*, J hjtkw 

1 05 Better Things to Do •mxchjud Dtu. 

106 Man In Reno... ilojidJllALdinidi 

1 07 After mdLua. Zulu 

1 08 Retail Hell Knutuu>, inc&udb 

109 Gumbo, Southern Comfort &&&^ ^^^ wi£ku>ui. 

1 1 BleSS YOU OcucuouOax. Q^jy/L 

111 Hold On Tight dm^5^ 
112 The Forgotten Movement ^atdbOuiMAsuoaj^ 

114 Broken Bones jdaUui jbuJlw, 

1 1 5 Crimson On Jade Vtm (jwuMju 
1 1 6 A Song of Surf and Sea < 6maa*ii -fn^uju 

1 1 7 Muy Muy Viejo -#w. Jjc^m^u 

118 Dostoevsky's Mouse-Man dnuxjut* Joimh 

1 1 9 Austen City Lights HojuuM. IalcUau*. 





Winged Prayer-Jeff McAlpin 

Just the Facts Ma'am-Gabriel Guillory 

Prey-Kristina McBride 

Ho-iuwMib ifliatio-n 
Parka-Kristina McBride 

Cancer-Randall Frederick 



The Collected Letters of Reggie P. Zephyr 

Andrew Shirley 

Three Days at Stonewash Creek-Andrew Shirley 
The Truth About Fairytales-Randall Sullivan 

Visual Arts 

Distribution-Jeremy Jones 

Untitled-Mary Squyres 

Caught in the Moment-Kali Davenport 

IfauwJrlb iYLtniia-n 
Weller's Barn and the Cloudy Day-Jeremy Jones 

thinking of winter, Erma sits inside 
while the cold October wind howls 
like a coyote on the prowl 

the stovetop makes the teapot whistle 
while Erma crochets a sweater 
for her only beloved daughter 

ojo caliente can be so cold, 

the arroyos so deep and treasure untold 

because George left too early 

to help his family mine the shaft for fool's gold 

two boys and a girl without a father 
while Erma smokes, her lungs bleed 
she can't make up for his love unreceived 

they gather pignon and chili for powder 
before the days of harvest leave 
to keep them above poverty 

ojo caliente can be so cold, 

the arroyos so deep and treasure untold 

because George left too early*. 

to help his family mine the shaft for fool's gold 

Erma's daughter dreams of being a nurse 

her son to play Spanish guitar 

the other wants to run far away from where they are 

Erma dreams of what she can't give 
her children looking gaunt and thin 
and winter coming with its winds 

ojo caliente can be so cold, 

the arroyos so deep and treasures untold 

because George left too early 

to help his family mine the shaft for fool's gold 

Ywcju* w IMM 



To him I pass by, unnoticed, 
unworthy of time or acknowledgment. 

Wearing a mask of cruel, unyielding steel 
that lets him see no light in my eyes. 

Smothering the sparkle in my smile and dousing the 

emotions that 

give away everything my heart is trying to conceal. 

He sees nothing but the mask, 

while I lie invisible behind his judgments, which have 

created my metal prison. 

Today I wear a dark fagade 

manifested with the insecurities that consume me. 

Welcome to the masquerade. 

Here you witness a different, unrecognizable me. 

Wearing the mask of a writer — 
crippled with happiness and woe. 

Creating stained pages of 
anger and bliss. 


To them I am merely a girl — 

a confident lacey mask, graceful and sure. 

An expressive and eager student 

but underneath a hidden, terrified teacher. 

The silk mask shows my passion 
and reveals my love for you 

But the crimson color can only 

hide the scars to the untrained eye — colorblind and uncaring 


She notices my white mask. 

Promising a future full of opportunities, 

but she cannot comprehend the lines of worry 

and apprehension that linger under the surface. 
But she sees what I want her to — 
excitement and joy. 

They all see what I want them to. 
Bits and pieces at a time. 




Never unmasking all at once, 

playing a new, undefined role for every soul I meet. 

The acting is pure I assure you, 

and only for my safety. 

For when they see my laughter, 
feel the emanating joy... 

My tears are able to go unannounced, 

leaving silent trails of sorrow behind the violet mask of ambition 

and hope. 

The colors, textures of my life — 

change as quickly and boldly as when the seasons sweep 
unsuspecting months off their feet. 

Twirling around, 

a vast array of emotions — countless faces. 

But the pretense shall fail and fall, 

as all unchained truths must waltz to the forefront of our minds, 

pushing back everything we want to be 
to uncover who we truly are. . . 

A friend. A foe. 
An acquaintance. 
A stranger. 


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The dangling of feet 
Sloshing in tepid water 
Pools of creation 

River pebbles roll 
Hundreds among millions 
Insignificant/ ^ 


Sharp and pricking rocks 
The piercing irritations 
A forgotten chore 

Hot, sticky asphalt 

Leaving footprints of black tar 


Underneath the feet 

The slick cement reminding 

Of mortality 

Splinters, small but harsh 
Stronger than the calluses 
Stubborn to remove 

Padding on carpet 

Soothing embrace of the home 

The creature comforts 

Digging toes between 

Soft blades of grass, squishy earth 



The boar roots 

in the loamy ground. 

His musk exudes 

powerfully from his sebaceous glands. 

His tusks are yellowed, yet strong. 

He seeks truffles or some similar delight in the soil. 

His black eye is on you brightly, glistening. 

He is appraising you and it is fight or flight. 

The evening comes to Kisatchie. 

The bat wings across the gloaming, 

etching arabesque arcs into the starry sky. 

The fire is smoky and forbidden 

on the beach, made from driftwood. 

The dog is running wildly 

remembering wolves. 

We are smoking grass 
and singing old songs on acoustic guitar. 

Supper simmers in an iron pot. 
Meat sizzles and fat flares up in the fire. 

Insects sound in the night. 
A raccoon rummages while we sleep. 

The owl and the whippoorwill 
both make their own separate music. 

Dawn comes and the light wakes you. 

The world is cold after a night of sleeping. 

It is awake and coated with the newness of dew. 

Ashes from last night's fire remind me 

That the darkness was real, 
even in this morning sunlight. 

The breeze blows soothingly over my face 
from the lookout. I am alone here with other people. 

This is the world. These trees and canyons 
stretch on without us. We'll leave and they'll wait here 

patiently, and if we come back, they'll be. And if we don't, 

still they will be. I want to remember this day 

with a flat stone etched with your initials. 

i\ ir /, u \m \ 

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There was this boy who didn't watch enough TV because his cassette 
collection was mountainous. Every day before and after school, he would 
have to put on special shoes to just climb over the piles and piles of gray, 
black, and white cassette tapes. His stepmother would call for him but he 
would run because he knew that she had work for him to do. He would 
run over the hills of music and down the hall toward his bedroom ducking 
as he slid beneath the mammoth-sized archways that had been natu- 
rally created by the sheer pull of gravity on the piles and piles of cassette 
tapes. In his room, away from Stepmother, the little boy would play his 
cassettes on the tiny pink cassette player that had been given to him by 
his sister when she was sent away to the home for troubled girls. One day 
he and a friend went to pick up some pizza. The little boy volunteered to 
go get the pizza. He stepped out of the minivan dropping cassette tapes 
like a bread trail from the van to the Pizza Hut doorway. Standing in line, 
he couldn't help but notice everyone stepping on his tapes, breaking them 
with a harsh crunching sound. Spools of tape roped out by the children 
who would grab them off the ground and try to chew on their boxy sides. 
The little boy wanted to die. He couldn't seem to keep his cassettes from 
being destroyed. They just kept falling out of his pockets like rain. A tall 
man standing in front of him saw this and felt bad for the little boy so he 
stepped aside and told the boy he could go in front of him. The boy was 
glad and couldn't help but wonder if he'd seen the tall man somewhere 
before. Still reaching for escaping tapes, the boy recognized the tall man's 
long red hair and tattoos but could not place him. Finally, the pizza was in 
the boy's hands and he left just as a kid began to wrap loose tape around 
his neck. The pizza made the van smell like pepperoni and extra cheese. 
As they rolled down the road, cassette tapes flew out the minivan like 
sparks from a broken axle. 


"KMrviu, Cauda- 

Audrey Walton wouldn't notice if a rock stood up and turned into 
a bird from the island of her fence-encased backyard. She was too 
busy entertaining herself with a Broadway-spectacle sized 
imagination. Life was what Audrey made it, and she had to make it 
interesting alone. 

Audrey and her potpie shivered in her kitchen. She peeked 
through a crack in the closed blinds shutting out the day. 

Everything was still, according to a flash of concrete suburban 
neighborhood road. 

"I should open the blinds," Audrey remarked aloud, "but, uhh. 
They're so far away." 

She bent down over her potpie, her back arched. The steam 
floated up and made her eyes water. When she looked through the 
crack in her blinds again, the concrete pavement wavered like it was 
at the bottom of the ocean, or the bottom of a big fishbowl in which 
Audrey and her neighbors lived. She looked at her entire kitchen 
this way: the floor where her Calico cat, Flops, had 
skidded around just two weeks ago, before it had run away, and the 
big brown table that waited for the dullest meals (mostly TV dinners, 
but Audrey was going to buy the Julia Child cookbooks soon, very 
soon). They looked like they looked when Audrey's allergies were 
blowing up and pouring out of her eyes: waterlogged. 

"Good thing Flops ran off. He'd be drowning," Audrey remarked to 
her potpie. "Or he'd have to turn into a mer-cat, and live under the 

She finally took a bite of her dinner. "I don't think I've ever heard 
of a mer-cat before. Or even seen one on television. The Disney 
movie should have had a mer-cat in it." 

She took another bite. Then she frowned. 

"Catfish. There's such a thing as a catfish. Damn." 

She took another bite. 

"And here I thought I was being innovative." 


Another bite. 

"Maybe Flops will come back today." 

One more bite. 

She looked down and pursed her lips, defeated. 


Outside, an old Calico cat sat near a bush twenty feet away from 
Audrey's house. He preened his paws with a tiny pink tongue and gave 
a cat-eye glare to Mrs. Cudney, Audrey's neighbor. 

"You're sitting by my bush, you disgusting thing," she told the cat 
matte r-of-factly. Mrs. Cudney was afraid of cats. She considered their 
overall attitude disrespectful and the solitary nature of cats unnatural. 
She only knew of two diseases cats could pass to people — specifically, 
cat scratch fever and rabies — but she was sure there were more — and 
she was certain felines delighted in making healthy humans sick. Mrs. 
Cudney gave the cat a dirty look. 

The Calico cat didn't much care what Mrs. Cudney thought. 

Mrs. Cudney had almost decided to be brave and chase this feral 
thing as far from her house and her bush as possible (down the street) 
when it occurred to her that the cat in her yard looked strikingly 
similar to a flier in her mailbox from two weeks ago concerning her 
young neighbor's lost cat. She'd thrown the flier out, but... 

Mrs. Cudney hesitated. It probably wasn't the neighbor's cat. This 
cat was dirty, its hair caked and weighed down with mud — more like a 
pauper than some spoiled little prince housecat. She'd go out of her 
way and knock on her neighbor's door for nothing. And what if the 
cat was, in fact, the missing cat? It had bolted before, and even if the 
neighbor took off like a rocket after this cat, she would never catch 
it. Cats scratch the hands that feed them and hiss at hearts that love 
them. It wasn't worth the trouble. 

And yet. 



Mrs. Cudney inexplicably walked towards the front door of 
Audrey's house, shivering just a bit from the faint evening breeze. 
She turned and looked at the cat. It returned a hint of a Cheshire 
Cat grin. 

"Good Lord," said Mrs. Cudney, "I'm doing my good deed for 

She reached Audrey's door, pushed the doorbell, and instantly 

recoiled her finger, as if the doorbell was on fire. 


In the shower, Audrey stood under a warm waterfall. She was a 
sexy siren on the rocks, a perfect mix of poise and seduction 
hidden by the shower mist. 

"Sirens need to shave their legs sometimes, though," she said. 
She grabbed the razor from the corner of the shower. She twirled 
the razor between her fingers while she watched the runoff water 
slither down the drain for a moment. She smiled. 

She conjured an imaginary mist-made man in the cramped 
space in the shower. He swirled together: cork-screw steam for 
hair, water drops for lips, and rainbow-almond eyes. 

Audrey put down her razor. 
Ding Dong. 

Audrey faintly heard the doorbell in the shower. Her island 
waterfall cascaded down and splashed around her feet while that 
light-hearted thunder pounced across her sky. 
Ding Dong. 


Mrs. Cudney had tried. She'd gone above and beyond her 
duty — it wasn't fair to say she hadn't tried. She'd rung the 
doorbell. When she'd felt she stood at the door two moments too 
long, she puckered her lips as an affirmation of her righteousness 
and neighborly duty. 

With that, she kicked her two stubby legs out from underneath 
her and charged at the cat. Frightened, it jumped from the bush 
and sprinted away, down the street. 

"Filthy little beast," she muttered aloud, despite her gasps for 
air. She allowed herself one sigh of tired satisfaction before she 

crossed her lawn and went inside. 


Audrey yawned. She pulled the covers on her bed back, jumped 
in, and buried her bare feet within the sheets. They started to 

Staring over her bed, she imagined a dark shadow moving very 
delicately, handsomely, like a clever cat friend would. Her sad 
smile faded into a neutral expression as she fell asleep for the 





(kjMj*f Jkuika- 

'Life among the stars!' they promised, 
Back when there was adventure in the world. 
Yet we're stranded on this dimming azure jewel, 
Boldly going nowhere and shipwrecked at home. 

Back when there was adventure in the world, 
They promised flying cars and farms on Mars. 
Boldly going nowhere and shipwrecked at home, 
That's where we are instead. 

They promised flying cars and farms on Mars; 
We're still grounded, no ascension in sight, 
That's where we are instead. 
Cosmic dreams pass into celestial delusions. 

We're still grounded, no ascension in sight; 
They're growing algae in low orbit again. 
Cosmic dreams pass into celestial delusions, 
And three billion dollars for star-borne pond scum. 

They're growing algae in low orbit again, 
And they can't figure out why no one cares. 
Three billion dollars for star-borne pond scum. 
Not exactly capturing imaginations, are they? 

And they can't figure out why no one cares, 
While we're stranded on this dimming azure jewel. 
Not exactly capturing imaginations, are they? 
"Life among the stars!" they promised. 


My own web of thoughts 
Rife with fears that can petrify 
And hopes that delude 

Tense strings so fragile 

Set corded raw through willow 

Hung high overhead 

Light with shed feathers 
Heavy hanging scattered stones 
Conflict with gravity 

A weave of cobwebs 
Spiders crawling in my head 
Poison stays my wake 


In a straitjacket of sheets 

Tortured by Hypnos 

Menu for tonight? 
Agony, despair, doomsday 
A slasher for laughs 

The strings hum as their 

Aged stones glow by the blood moon 

Thrashing in my ears 

He's here, his whispers 

Rain down from the feathers like 

Shimmering dust chokes 

I'm caught in his web 

Of lies, truths, the death of my 

Dreamcatcher... unraveling 


A pale face pressed against the outside of the young girl's window. 
White fingers, such a stark contrast to this dark night, pried their way into 
the windowsill. Like an oily shadow, the dark creature slid his way into the 

He brushed his dark clothes and crept to the side of the girl's bed. So 
young, so full of life. The creature cocked his head to the side, listening 
with relish to the pulsing of the warm, fresh blood that flowed through her 
arteries. There was a glint in the dark as he leaned in close, bringing his 
terrible fangs to bare... 

Click. The room was suddenly bathed in light and the intruder recoiled, 

"Cripes, woman, that's bright! A little warning, would you please!" 

Suddenly he was being beaten over the head with a blunt object, a shrill 
scream filling his ears. 

"What in the blazes are you — ah! Stop it!" His nostrils flared as he 
flashed his pointed bicuspids. 

His young assaulter froze, a look of awe on her face, "Omigod, you're a 

"What do you mean, I'm a vampire..? Aren't you — " he took a glance 
around the room. Vampire paraphernalia adorned nearly every inch of 
where the pink wallpaper wasn't feebly trying to peek through on the wall. 
Oh, damn. 

A knock sounded on the door. "Dear, are you okay in there?" a worried 
voice rang out. 

"Mom, there's a vampire in my room!" she shrilled gleefully. 

"Oh," the alarm seemed to drain from the muffled voice entirely, "that's 
nice dear, go to bed." 

It's easy to imagine how confused the dark visitor was at this point. Did 
he mistakenly sneak into an insane asylum? The girl was staring at him 
so hard he was afraid a hole would be burnt into him. 


"I think... I think I'm gonna go." 

"No! You can't leave; you haven't done any sexy vampire stuff yet!" 

"Sexy vamp--? Do I look like a male escort? I am a creature of the 
night!" he rose to his full height, "Dark and terrible!" 

The girl jumped in place, giggling feverishly. 

He deflated, "This is all very confusing..." 

"How long were you watching me sleep?" she asked breathlessly. 

"I don't— I wasn't watching you sleep! Why would—? I- I wasn't," he 

"Do you want to?" she whispered, wide-eyed. 

"Wow, that was creepy. I, uh, I think I'm just gonna take off. I'm just 
gonna, just gonna... go." He started inching toward the window. 

"But you haven't even bitten me yet!" The disappointment in her face 
was incredibly sad, in so many ways. 

"No, no, I just... things got a little weird with this whole thing. I thought 
I'd have a treat tonight but now it just doesn't, just doesn't feel right. 
Think I might find a hobo or something. You uh... you have a good 
night." He turned around and made to jump out the window. 

Then his entire world was bright, shiny stars. 

The brightness woke him up. The first thing he noticed was the 

"Why the f*** is it daylight!?" He howled, edging away from the thin 
beams of light coming from the window. It was difficult, however, 
because he was trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey by a combination 
of jumping rope and a mountainous amount of dental floss. 

"Well, hello Sleepy-head! I didn't want you to leave last night so I," 
here she made a pop noise with her tongue, "gave you a little bonk on 
the noggin'." She revealed a dented aluminum bat and gaily tossed it. 


LClhV JZtal dwwd 

He started to breathe very, very fast. He soon found struggling was 
useless. Just how much floss did she use? 

"My dad's a dentist," she volunteered. "You know, I got to thinking last 
night. Maybe you aren't a vampire. I did't think I could take out a vampire 
like that. You're supposed to be like, a superhero or something. Maybe 
you're just some creepy dude that likes sneaking into girls' rooms at night. 
I think you've got to prove it." 

"Well, I could try to hypnotize you, if I weren't concussed" the vampire 

"Ooh, I know how to tell. Use some of your vampire powers! What am I 
thinking right now?" 

"Wait a — What are you on about?! I'm a vampire, not some dime-store 
psychic! Just what do you think vampires do?" 

"Hm, I know! I'll just take you outside. The sunlight will reveal your true, 
beautiful form! Right now, you're kind of musty." She grabbed the end of 
the jump rope and began dragging him into the inner hall. 

"This is completely unorthodox! Let me go, let me — mind the bumps!" 
He tried vainly to chew at his binds, but he just couldn't reach. 


She dragged him past the kitchen, where her mother was making 

"I'm going out, Mom!" 

"Okay, dear, dinner's at five." 

"Madam, please, surely this can't be a normal occurrence!" 

She shrugged, and sipped her coffee. She had the look of a woman 
who wasn't surprised by anything her daughter did anymore. 

The vampire struggled at the front door, trying to brace the walls with 
his legs. 

"Miss, you cannot take me outside, it's daylight. Don't you know 
anything about vampires?!" 

She stopped dead, turned and looked him full in the face. There was 
never a stare as icy as this one. 

"I know everything about vampires." 

She threw open the front door, letting in the full force of the 
morning sun. 

"Now, it's time to — " she turned around, caught by surprise at the dune 
of ash and cinders sitting where the vampire had been just moments 

She blinked once. Then blinked again. 



owen lea died today 
wrapped in blood and tissue paper 
lying next to a wire coat hanger 
strewn on the tiled bathroom floor 

his mother hugging her knees in the shower 
cold water whipping naked flesh 
flagellation for crimes committed 
adultery is never forgiven 
a tattoo etched in scarlet 
cannot be washed nor ripped out 

owen lea paid the price 
in a match-box coffin placed 
near the lilies in the garden lay 
like the cat's bones decayed 

his father never could face 
consequences of betrayal 
and in blissful ignorance awaited 
her return to his married bed 
merely a coward in retrospect 
goddamn the booze and cigarettes 

owen lea ne'er a child 

a wanton wish unduly forgotten 

by infidelity and lust suffice 

one man's desire; a mother's demise 




when he found out 
it was cancer 
he laughed to himself, 
"so much for that" 
and refused the 
suggestions of experts 

he boxed up 

his belongings, 

and the tell-tales of living, 

putting them in storage 

waiting for Death 

like a dutiful host 

this was the reward, 
a disease that ate 
until he disappeared, 
for loving without regret, 
being polite and generous, 
and for a life of hard work 

it burrowed and spread, 
each day and each night 
collected together like 
birthday flowers, a present, 
the disease's cake 
the host of Death 


so polite, so fragile 

that he waited 

like a dutiful host, 

offering another slice 

of himself 

since the day he knew 

those who forgot him 
came to understand 
and with time, remember 
other things in their life 
while he waited, arms folded 

the injustice 

which, in life, he had fought 

revenged itself upon his heart 

and cut bone to skin 

for his guest 

was a dark hunger 

this was his reward 
that his loneliness 
would be satisfied 
in the last days 
with another 
who would devour him 

and finally 

have someone enjoy him 




and time it is o 


v<? pWards 5" 

/ communion 
^ with the world 
sa 9 e s.6 know ^ 

qS/vhich way to ^ 

V? 0) ._ AOV/v 

gasih^pS 6 % 
\V^ and down- 

«? ^level- 



as a hymn 

you cannot hear. 

all things tend 

toward One 

in the end; 

that which is begun 

was started 

so long ago 

not even 



which way to 


this death 

(sweet, ignorant bliss) 

is a form of 

knowledge & communion 

with the world-soul 

and time it is 
on, on, on- 
and down- 

onto a level plain 
where all things fractured 
are forged whole again, 
made same 


looking backward 
is a tool 
often looked at 


* * * 

would it were the future 

we see in that mirrored mercury 

window to the past: 

grim memory 

turned kindly, 

a chameleon-colored 

figment, a blend 

of chemicals become pregnant 

& metaphysical with 


* * * 

all roads lead to Rome 
but that's not where you're 
coming from 
even headed 
or have ever even gone- 
all roads lead home. 

* * * 

I don't hearken to what they say. 
the tended hearth never darkens, 
yea or nay, 
you can, you can, you can, 

you can go home again. 

* * * 

some might mistake it as unfamiliar, 


because it is not home, but you that's 





a rotten fruit 

contains in its 


the seed of its own 


we all carry pieces 

of ourselves (and the past) 

inside us--just like peaches. 

looking back, we all 
began life as blossoms 
in others' (sometimes lovers') 

birds, and bees, and the 

sycamore tree, 

all were wrung gasping into temporality, 

grasped from the far-flung reaches of infinity. 

a seed is order crystal- 

ized in its purest form. 

becoming life, so it dies, 

and is in death reborn, 

not to disorder 

(maybe so or not) 

but to some higher plane 

up a quantum staircase 

in a lock-and-dam 

lockstep of the metaphysical realm. 

struggle we all, to say what we mean 

to say, to mean 

to live and breathe 

somewhere between 

in space 

and spaces 


among fair time 

(that bashful maiden now become 


knowing father to us all?). 

I cannot conceive eternity 
without a sense of entropy... 
order is finite 
chaos without limit 

(unless viewed from a vista 

high enough and broad enough 

to hold the lives of apples, men, and trees. 

to comprehend the turns and retumings of centuries.) 

to make the middle age of some, far star 

to realize the retirement of a nebula 

to distrust the death of a salesman 

to nurture a newborn face, to wonder who you are 

thrust into this strange place, 

awkwardly arranged, 

beyond bizarre, 

gliding gently down 

in the soft velvet black silk 

of a space beyond space 

of a time out of time 

of a place further than knowledge of place 

of "a roar on the other side of silence"'s 

final curtain, 

to live with some small sound 

to die into silence 

the void now becomes 

the place you 





Ten million stars under the northern Louisiana sky 
Sitting on the rooftop with soothingly destructive melodies 
Faint cries of joy as the lights soar through the midnight sky 
A gentle breeze, a simple touch 
Never a wasted moment. 

Seemingly silent breaks, anticipating the next burst of multicolored- 

Nothing else matters in this blissful solitude. 
Looking out beyond the leafy summer trees 

The noisy world is distant, yet its fresh life spreads quickly, filling the 
empty air 

Completely engulfing the surroundings with its illuminating brilliance 
Peace in its truest form, forever strong. 





ifluchajd ^Haaiul 


I was ten, 

the winter I got my pink parka. 

I was so proud 

of the soft blonde fur 

that trimmed the hood. 

The boys in the higher grades 
would chase me around the playground 
until I couldn't run anymore, 
my lungs burning with the cold. 

I fell before they could catch me, 
tearing and staining my parka. 
When they saw that it was ruined, 
they didn't chase me anymore. 


We hear it from all of them 
everyday of our lives, 
from Roosevelt and King, 
to Oprah and Springsteen, 
Newton and Jesus, 
Lennon and Churchill, 
They all tell us how best 
to do what we will. 

The advice is everflowing. 

It is easy to get. 

It travels through time, 

and tells us how time 

was well spent, 

and now it is on the Internet! 

It is advice about power, 

patience and mercy, and discipline and 

truth and love, peace, 

and necessity and drudgery. 

What size packages should come in, 
how mercy is received, 
how things must come down, 
and intentions and deeds. 

How lucky we are to have great lessons before us. 

Desiderata is just another conclusion, 

written by someone trying to teach us, 

how best to feel, 

and deal, 

when life's power gives us, 

an indefinite will. 



JkU. u. ChtjUtiruxA. 

In 1985, on a sojourn to visit family during the holidays, I went shopping 
on a dreary day in Indiana between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. As 
is usual during the holiday season, I found a parking spot out of eyesight 
of the Glenbrook Mall in Fort Wayne, Indiana. After trudging through the 
lines of parked cars for what seemed an eternity, I reached the entrance 
guarded by two Santa Clauses. Since they only accosted people leaving 
the mall, I entered quickly. 

The mall was blaring Muzak versions of Christmas songs that have 
since become canonized nationwide. The mall mob was a pastiche of 
families with screaming children and harried shoppers frantically trying 
to get a last minute gift. After shopping for an hour or so, I stopped at a 
seating corral just off the main court. Within minutes, the area around 
the main court was packed with unwashed humanity. The speakers 
announced that Santa was arriving at Glenbrook and those wanting a 
picture with Santa should head immediately to the Main Court. Since I 
already had a pretty good seat, I decided to see "Santa Claus." 

I didn't have to wait for too long before a couple of mall cops 
herded some domesticated deer, with reindeer antlers attached to their 
heads with Christmas ribbon, into the confined area and attached them 
to the sleigh. Unfortunately, they were a few deer short of the number 
required to pull Santa's sleigh, but nobody seemed to care. After a little 
while, the children on the far side of the Main Court started scream- 
ing "Santa." Then an older Caucasian man dressed in the requisite red 
clothes jumped onto the sleigh and shouted "On Dancer...." Meanwhile, 
a couple of people dressed as elves carried props for the Santa pictures 
into a cordoned off area. 

The last thing I saw clearly was a deer defecating on the floor as it 
continued to munch on its ration of hay. The loudspeakers then 
announced that Santa's picture workshop was open and my view of the 
Main Court was obscured by a mass of parents and children. 


Before I turned away from the pandemonium enveloping the main court, 
the middle-aged Caucasian woman sitting next to me said, "Fucking 
retards!" A profane rejoinder ready, I turned my head. She wasn't looking 
at me, however. Her gaze was fixed on a group of adolescents. A small 
group of adolescents with exceptionalities had taken seats behind me 
during Santa's arrival. Her glare was fixed on an African-American male 
who was rocking and humming to some internal music. The girl next to 
him kept calling his name, but he kept rocking and humming. I must have 
watched his rhythmic dance for several minutes before I turned back 
around to see the Caucasian woman and her husband had returned with 
mall security. The mall guard quietly asked the woman in charge of the 
group of adolescents to take her charges and leave. 

I remember sitting dumbfounded. These students hadn't created a 
disturbance. They had maintained the quiet decorum befitting a monk. 
While the teacher was getting them ready to leave, the middle-aged 
woman said to her husband in an aggravated tone, "Why do they let them 
out in public?" I followed the group as they left to apologize for the woman 
and her husband's stupidity and lack of humanity. During this time of love 
and forgiveness, the mass of people shopping parted like the Red Sea for 
Moses as the group of students passed and then quickly closed 
behind them again. Someone should have been shouting, "Leper! Out- 
cast! Unclean!" since no one dared touch them out of fear of 
contamination. I reached the mall's exit in time to see them bathed in a 
ray of light that had broken through the clouds. As they left, the light died. 
The grey clouds closed again and bled black tears. 


there are few 

who knew him before 

the cutting started 

who know the story 

about the quarter moon 

on the left side of his bac 

above the kidney 

and not where he intended 


there are few 

who knew him before 

the tall tales he told 

about parades and 

roadtrips with a band 

we have all heard on the radio, 

before the cutting started 

and the music went away 

he cut others 

he cut people, like a field medic 
until he learned 
to turn it upon himself 
when he laughed and 
made even those who 
hated him laugh too 

then he felt 

the knife go in 

that sobered him right up 

he went away 

on some camping trip, 

if I recall 

(though it has been awhile) 



and came back 
with another tale 
of Kisatchie Bayou Camp 
and the day gone wrong 
when he survived 
with a pocketknife, 
rucksack and the stars 
as a compass for the lost 

there are few 

who knew him before 

those scars on his face 

that look like age, when there was 

still something to cut 

with that pocketknife 

smile of his which did 

just what you think 

he felt 

the knife go in 

and that sobered him up 

when he returned, 
he told how he had 
killed something and 
carved the meat 
with a dull knife 

the understanding came later 


few would have guessed the truth 
and more frequently will not 



j&abntil J&uJia* 


The coyotes behind my childhood home used to sing- 
Howls bursting, spreading dark clouds, 
That blanket the night, ebony as it is. 

Unseen, they exist together. 

I cannot recall, at this moment, or that 

Why I smiled at the night sky, 

While the coyotes howled beautiful and truculent. 


Itichdhu. CfiUAVtMls 


Znjji CsuAYtMi/ 

Night after night watching the waves crest 

Keeping rhythm with the cyclical light 

She stands in serenity atop the lone turret of sandstone 

The relic gently draped round her neck, capturing the pearl 

The pier drifts out past the dunes 

Mist shrouding her in time 

In reverie she passes the time 

With bare hands open as the silver moon crests 

Over a calm sanctuary among the dunes 

Reflecting in her eyes, twin cyan pools of light 

Rimmed in tears, a cluster of pearls 

While pluming flags dance upon a wall of stone 

Sight after sight mirrors in the lucent moonstone 
Her amulet a pure vessel to another time 
She drifts in a nebula of lustrous pearls 
As angel wing shells float upon the crests 
Willing a token to surface bathed in starlight 
She waits in repose unlike the dunes 


In constant circulation, restless are the dunes 

Ethereal in movement, not so the wall of stone 

Its foundation holds her aflight in light 

Spiraling in the coils of time 

A celestial compass guides her to the midnight crests 

To see clouded in darkness, the luminous pearl 

Light after light, her hands stroke away the pearls 
The gentle breeze sweeps among the dunes 
To dust the white wisps gathered upon her crest 
For deliverance she stands in living stone 
Sensing a tenuous peace echoing in time 
And the emerald tidepools rendering light 

She is blind in daylight 

Her cyan eyes are new moons cast in pearl 

She can no longer capture time 

Much like an hourglass without a dune 

Still prophecy retains her in marbled stone 

Stranded like driftwood in the shallow crest 

Her eyes radiant in moonlight cast over the dunes 
Darkness has crested and her hands swallow her pearls 
Still she won't wither in time but quest in cyan eyes of stone 


Heaven (There is no circle inside a honeycomb and no one perfect place) 

Haven (but sometimes there's granted a time to rest and rebuild inside) 

Eave (away from the storm. To dry off by a fire. Hearth. Home.) 

Ave (Maria, Mother of God, the Pieta, Michelangelo! To look one day 
on your child's eyes for the first time. Such things are -- indelible. Is that 

V.E. (Day, all of Europe a burning building smoldering in a collective "what 
now?" but soon my grandfather will 
return to meet my grandmother, and... and...) 

v (...ducks, flying north for the spring together. 

I see them, and I 

have burning questions 

about life and how not to get lost, 

but if it were just one, it would be, 

"Would you tell me about learning to fly?") 


&*uid*>/i itfbujjuui 

I took a moment out of my day, 

And looked up at the blue, blue sky. 

The wind took the clouds and whisked them away, 

And I watched as they all went by. 

I felt as if I had been pulled away, 

Out of my shoes and my clothes. 

I left behind the rest of my day, 

And all my worries and woes. 

I could not tell you where I went that day, 

Over the hills and far away. 

But rest assured, if, caloo callay! 

The world should end on some far away day, 

I will go back to the place I went that day, 
That place in the blue, blue sky, 

Over the hills and far away. 
Waving to you, as I say goodbye. 








dnJMJuj- Jlhutku- 



When Jimmy Grayson was little, his grandmother told him sto- 
ries about a monster that lived in the woods of Stonewash Creek. 
"It's tall and hairy." she would tell him, "with glowing red eyes and 
claws sharp enough to cut into rocks." It had been the kind of stuff 
that terrified him as a kid but he looked back on fondly as an adult. 
He had to admit though, now that he was back out at Stonewash 
Creek for the first time in fifteen years, that he was more than a 
little uneasy. 

Something had changed in these woods. 
Jimmy wasn't sure what it was, but he knew that something was 
different. He had grown up running around in the shallow sloughs 
and dried creek beds that made up Stonewash Creek. The place 
had always been full of squirrel, bobcats, deer, hogs, coyotes... a 
menagerie of North American wildlife. Now? Well, he'd started 
this hike five hours prior and couldn't remember seeing a single 
animal. Hell, now that he thought about it, there weren't even any 
birds chirping. 

The town of Stonewash Creek had basically dried up around the 
time his grandmother had passed away. It had never been 
exciting, even by small town standards, but a dying economy 
turned into a dead economy in only a few short years, forcing 
almost everyone to pack up and leave. The place wasn't quite a 
ghost town, but it was populated by a skeleton crew. Jimmy had 
given this fact some thought in trying to explain the current state of 
the woods, but there was no obvious link. 

Jimmy scratched his chin as he sat on a large rock and took in 
his surroundings. The landscape more or less looked the same. 
Old trees had fallen and new growth had taken their place, but 
by and large the place seemed untouched by everything but 
time. There was something in the air, though... some chill, some 
emptiness that Jimmy couldn't quite identify. He knew it was a 
crazy thing to think, but despite being out in the open air, he felt 
like he was in a morgue. He rolled the mystery around in his head 
for several minutes, so intently focused on it that he missed the 
sound of rustling brush. 



"Howdy!" A booming voice rocked Jimmy back into consciousness. 
He turned around to see an older but physically imposing man with a 
wild white beard standing on the path he himself had just traveled. It 
was a face Jimmy recognized. 

"Otto!" Jimmy said warmly. Otto Rains had been Jimmy's grand- 
mother's closest neighbor and an infrequent but well-remembered 
presence in his childhood. "My God, it's been fifteen years! I as- 
sumed you would've left by now." 

"Nah," Otto said. "Didn't see the point. Between my pension and 
social security I make enough. House is paid for. I own the land and 
like it quiet. And it's certainly quiet..." 

"Yeah, it is. What's with that?" Jimmy stared blankly at the empty 
forest as he asked the question. When he turned around to face 
Otto, he found him doing the same. It was subtle, but it filled Jimmy 
with a sense of worry. 

"Nobody's real sure. Animals started disappearing about six 
months ago, but it was slow at first. There'd been a real lean deer 
season and by the end nobody was bagging anything. Then about a 
month ago, the trickle turned into a flood. You'd walk these trails and 
not see or hear a damn thing. It's like everything from mosquitoes to 
buzzards just up and left. All at the same time..." Otto stared at the 
sky as his words drifted off. 

"So nobody has said anything?" Jimmy asked. 

"Oh no, people have asked about it," Otto replied. "In fact, a few 
weeks ago we had a couple of biologists from the university drive up 
to take a look. They spent a few hours out here then said 'We're not 
sure, but climate change is a likely factor.' Buncha horseshit if you 
ask me. 

"Drive fifteen miles over to Frerley and nothing's changed at all. It's 
something about these woods, but damned if I know what it is." 

"And nobody has seen anything at all?" 


"Well, the only clue anyone has is a dead coyote found by Doc 
Shibe, the veterinarian. He found it while walking on the side of 
the road about three weeks ago and took it back to his office to 
look at it. I don't really know what he found. We don't have any 
livestock anymore so I don't get a chance to talk to him much. 
You may want to drive over and talk to him, see what he says if 
you're that interested." 

"You aren't interested?" 

"I guess I am," Otto said. "But I'm also old enough to know that 
sometimes answers don't come easy for a reason." 

Jimmy rolled the last comment around in his head for a few 
seconds before realizing that Otto was attempting to make an 
exit. Composing himself, he shook the older man's hand, told 
him how great it was to see him, and let him go on his way. 


"Well, I can't honestly explain it scientifically," Doc Shibe said 
as he pulled the door open on a giant deep freezer, "but if you 
held a gun at my head and forced me to describe it, I'd tell you 
this animal was still alive when it started to rot." 

"What, like a flesh eating virus or something?" 

"No, that's the thing... no viruses or bacteria came back from 
the culture. According to the heart and liver temperature, this 
coyote died no more than an hour or so before I walked by. But 
the thing was half rotten. Whole parts of the body were 
completely necrotized." 

Doc Shibe stopped talking as he removed the corpse from the 
freezer and laid it out on a stainless steel table to allow for a 
better look. The coyote was divided into two almost perfect 
halves, with the front legs and head being mostly normal. The 
back half, however, was blackened and malformed. Though Doc 
Shibe described it accurately, Jimmy was still shocked at the half 
healthy, half diseased look of the animal. 


"And what's even stranger is that there were no maggots on the 
necrotized portion," Shibe said. "Actually, now that I think about it, there 
were none on the healthy tissue, either. Normally flies would be all over a 
corpse like this in minutes." 

"And you've got no explanation?" 

"No," Shibe said. "I don't. As far as I know there's nothing that explains 
something rotting before it dies with no viral or bacterial agent present. 
But I do have a sneaking suspicion that this is what's responsible for the 
large-scale animal disappearance. At least in part." 

"You think this happened to all of them?" 

"Some maybe, but not all. But... well, it may be better if I just show you." 
Shibe left the room for a moment and returned carrying a cage that 
contained a large white cockatiel. Jimmy had seen it sleeping in the 
waiting area when he first entered the office. 

"This is Icarus," Shibe said. "He's an exceptionally well behaved bird 
most of the time. But watch this." Shibe set the cage next to the coyote's 
corpse and the previously docile bird immediately erupted into a frenzy 
of loud squawks and flapping wings as it tried furiously to claw its way 
through the metal bars. Shibe relented after less than a minute and 
removed the cage from the room, his point made. He returned to the 
examining room, placed the coyote's corpse back into the freezer, and 
then turned to wash his hands. 

"Whatever this is, animals know that it's bad news. I think that the 
reason the woods are silent is because they've left. Run away. Fled in 
terror from whatever you want to call. ..that. You told me you talked to Otto 
Rains, didn't you? And he said something about there being plenty of 
animals over in Frerley?" 

"Yeah, I ran into him on the old hiking path," Jimmy said. "Why?" 

"Whatever this is... one, more than one, whatever... I think it's staked a 
territory around Stonewash Creek and just about every single living thing 
that can leave has left." 

"So, what you getting at?" 


Jfo/ltMsOL-dh UWUfO 

"What I'm getting at is that I think something caused this coyote to start 
rotting while it was still alive. I'd call it an infection, but there's no evidence 
of one. Still, that's the only word I can come up with. Something infected 
this coyote with whatever this is, and I think it's still out there. At first I 
thought this was it, but it's been three weeks and nothing has come back. 
Not a bird, not a squirrel, nothing. Something's still out there. I don't know 
if it's a thing, animal, man, plant, or none of the above. But whatever it is. 
it's still somewhere in Stonewash Creek. 

"So, what happens now?" 

"Nothing," Shibe said. "I don't have any real evidence, nobody would 
take me seriously, and I don't even know what to look for. Maybe 
something will turn up eventually, but until it does there's nothing of value 
I or anyone else can do." 

"Well, I guess I could go look around..." Jimmy was somewhat shocked 
that he seemed to be volunteering to play detective, but the state of the 
woods was simply too bizarre to ignore. "I'm in town for another day and I 
was planning to camp the last night anyway. I doubt I'll find anything, but 
I'll keep my eyes open." 

The two men shook hands and parted ways. 



Jimmy had spent the majority of the day covering as much ground as 
he could, but had seen nothing unusual. The woods were as empty as 
they'd been two days earlier, but otherwise things looked normal. The 
fading afternoon light was quickly giving way to night, so he decided to 
set up camp in a small clearing several miles deep in the woods, an area 
he hadn't explored very well, even in childhood. Jimmy couldn't help but 
believe that these woods felt dead, even more so than his previous visit. 


Jsta-nJU^olh CauK) 

As Jimmy sat in front of the fire, he rubbed his hands together and 
took in the scenery around him. Night had completely set in and had 
brought with it even more of a chill. While there had always been 
plenty to be afraid of in the woods of Stonewash Creek, the outdoors 
had never bothered Jimmy. Tonight, though... tonight was different. 
He focused on the fire's warmth and sound, which stood in stark 
contrast to the cold silence of the forest. 

Jimmy's attention being otherwise occupied, the rustling sound 
that came from behind his campsite went unnoticed. Only after it 
had grown steadily louder did Jimmy finally recognize it. He paused 
for a moment to make sure it wasn't his imagination, then turned his 
head in the general direction of the noise. The light provided by the 
fire was inconsistent, but Jimmy thought he could make out a figure 
through the trees, fifteen or twenty yards away. 

"Hello?!" Jimmy yelled louder than he meant to and an echo rang 
through the woods. There was no reply, but the figure started 
moving slowly towards him. It was difficult to make out, but it 
seemed as if the figure was a man, moving as if crippled. The mo- 
tions were slow and stunted, and as it drew closer Jimmy saw that 
it seemed to be shuffling more than walking. Slowly the figure drew 
closer until Jimmy could just barely make out the now recognizable 

"Otto? Is that you? What are you doing out here at this hour?" 

The figure stopped moving, but there was no reply. 

"Otto? That is you, isn't it?" Jimmy asked, but he was certain it 
was. The only reply was silence. 

Slowly Otto resumed movement in Jimmy's direction, and within a 
few seconds he was close enough that Jimmy could see the 
features of his face. Otto's white beard was stained crimson by 


fresh blood and his skin had turned a pallid shade of gray. Otto wore 
the same clothes he had two days previous, but they were stained 
with mud and blood. His left sleeve was ripped apart and it looked as if 
something had clawed his skin. His once bright and cheerful eyes had 
now given way to black voids that had fallen deep into their sockets, 
and his mouth hung open as if he wanted to yell in pain. Jimmy was hit 
by the sudden sickening stench of rotting flesh. 

As Otto drew ever closer, Jimmy noticed that his clawed arm resem- 
bled the rot he had seen on the coyote's dead body. Recoiling in terror, 
Jimmy tried to shout, but Otto moved suddenly, wrapping his large 
hand around Jimmy's neck. Jimmy struggled, but his attempts to free 
himself were futile. 

Jimmy felt Otto's hot, rancid breath on his face as his body went limp. 
Exhausted and unable to breathe, Jimmy lost consciousness in the 
heart of Stonewash Creek. 


x» e 

Ke stockpiles 

Oats ^ HJ^e c lnot tajgier" 

T^xjl ring giWs 

witl* lArhiskers 

and promises. 

Tlx ey stai^cl, those 
kittens, guardians to 
the gate of a SECRET 
Aiirorlci to Tivkiclx 
no girl should 
wan de r. 







HinAUs yJcfrtiMAlAl 

fCoSS, QaMJipafib 


UrtrtUKUs QrO-, 










itiChsicU. CfiiXAYlMb 


Black and white veiled my past, 
trapping me within myself, 
in a box with invisible walls. 
Viewed as a mime, 

fated to explore the extensive barriers 
of my entrapment, for eternity 
feeling around for any escape 
with my white cotton gloves... 

...when one day, something touches me, a drip of paint 

on my shirt. And I think to myself, "What could this be?" 

As I run my fingers over the spatter on my shoulder, 

I am startled by its eloquence. When my eyes focus 

on the color, I'm set on fire by its brilliant red hues. 

Instantly, I am freed from my accursed containment, stripped of 


deceitful attire. And as I strain to see through the flood in my 


I sprint to where the artist, who unknowingly awakened me 

with this drop, illustrates his world. How I wish to be drenched 

in the pigments of his passion! Eagerly, I tap on his shoulder 

and reveal to him my fervent desire. He turns to me with a tender 


Without saying a word, he takes my hand in his and positions 

the brush in my fingers. Together we choose the paint, 

lay the brush on the canvas, and with each stroke 

we begin to depict our two lives... AS ONE... 


I know you want me 
in measured metrics 
to be longer 
or thicker with meaning 
that you can be satisfied. 

Literate whore. 

Sorry I don't satisfy you 

and please your palate with my love 

that my most intimate efforts 

can't climax 

when poetry should be concise. 

Flip the page. 

Flip me over like you flip a mattress 
and let your horny mind 
find a new master 
who speaks to you 
and fulfills the longings. 

How they burn inside you. 

Let another lover touch you 

where you need it most 

while you sit there, judging me still, 

calling me a bad lover because 

I can't get you pregnant with my poetry. 

Get off already. 

Go touch yourself 
and read the bathroom stalls 
I know how that turns you on 
with non-imaginary pictures 
you literate whore. 


From one thing, another 
Or so Darwin claimed. 
Which makes one wonder 
From what species you came. 


there's a squirrel in the rain 

causin' trouble with a jane 

and she thinks it's my headache 

honey i may be a policeman 

but you're the one that stole his snowflake 

there's an ocean in front of me 
but i've made no ripple 
standin' on the corner 
and waitin' on my sqeeze 
she's my crutch and i'm her cripple 

up and down on the sidewalk 

not left to right 

is every person i don't want to see out tonight? 

they wanna share with me 

but i don't wanna stay 

they got good news 

and i got nothin' to say 

i wanna step in peace 

but it seems my feet catch every crease 

along the way 


train up a child in the way he should go 

and the things he should know will come back when he's old 

shit. shit. shit. 

i'm workin' fifteen hours for fourteen dollars 

with a man for a mentor that would'a been a scholar 

he said a train yard ain't no place for a kid like me 

i guess the world's just harder than he thought it would be. 

there's a man in a box 

that i disregard completely 

on top of the rocks 

where the river flows neatly 

i guess the world's just tougher than i thought it would be 

i need somethin' to repeat 

i guess people are more thoughtless than i thought they would be 

i'm walkin' west to east 

i'm walkin' hard to easy 

i'm walkin' revolutions west to east 

and i'm getting nowhere 

no, not getting nowhere 

i guess the world's just bigger than i thought it would be 


Wanted: Someone willing to do 
The right thing, simply because 
It is the right thing to do... 

One who longs to see the world 

Through a child's eyes 

Despite never having a childhood... 

Someone who has the courage 

To change, when to change is to 

Let go of everything he's ever known... 

One who can allow himself 

A moment to mourn over the loss 

Of a child he never knew... 

Someone who periodically hands over 
A pocket full of change to the lonely drunk 
And never tells a soul... 

The one who would have no problem politely 
Informing the potential home wrecker, 
"Everything I've ever needed is at home." 

If interested: Please know, 

Although you are the minority, 

You are not alone, she's still out there.... 


^injUhilfLa, Hfi.4t 

yJbxUia. Qxjxiuia-H 

The Nice is part of me 

the way that my bones and blood and organs 

are part of me 

I sometimes want to rip it out 

nothing to numb 

the pain of the procedure 

just calmly insert my hand 

into my body 

wrap it tightly around the Nice 

viciously twist and pull 

until it separates from the rest of me 

and I can hold out my arm and watch 

as it lies writhing and pulsing in my hand 

until it dies 

Then I wonder if the Nice might be 

such an integral part 

of who I am 

that its loss would alter me 

beyond recognition 

I'll keep the Nice in me. 

For now. 

Until I can't anymore. 


OdSU to- lOtjxJUux4> 


"No Muse-poet grows conscious of the Muse except by experience of a woman 
in whom the Goddess is to some degree resident; just as no Apollonian poet can 

perform his proper function unless he lives under a monarchy or a 
quasi-monarchy. A Muse-poet falls in love, absolutely, and his true love is for him 

the embodiment of the Muse... 

But the real, perpetually obsessed Muse-poet distinguishes between the 

Goddess as manifest in the supreme power, glory, wisdom and love of woman, 

and the individual woman whom the Goddess may make her instrument. ..The 

Goddess abides; and perhaps he will again have knowledge of her through his 

experience of another woman..." 

Robert Graves in The White Goddess: a Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth 

I saw the almost full moon 
tonight among the dimmed stars. 
Almost but not quite 
full it was, waxing gibbous. 

It rode in splendor through the pomp 

of the zodiac. At its right stood strong Taurus, 

with Orion and the big dog attendant. 

On its shoulder the plough Auriga anchored. 

Later the clouds were banked 

by its light in a streak across the sky 

And, later still, it peeped 

through the black skeletons of winter trees. 

The ghostly light made shadows of the trees. 
It shined weakly through the horizon's haze, 
I stood its captive in my gaze. 
The moon, the moon was queen tonight 

of all she sees, of all purveys. 

If I linger longer than the cold invites 

from the front porch I can see the movement 

of her sinking, she is in flight. 


From that dawn that denies this nocturnal, 
silvery light, that now washes 
over the fields of mundane days. 
They are rendered mystic in this light. 

The moon is magic 
and, tonight baptized in silver fire, 
all the world's asleep at night 
knowing not this moon's desire 

at the manic mounting phase 

of her roundness, her regal splendor. 

The apogee of aristocracy, the queen 

of all the night whose tribute one knight 


I mark this moon of quiet flame, ablaze. 
Parting ways I watch her sink 
Not taking time to stop and think 
Rushing to write, for pen and ink. 

She is lovely, how I cannot say. 
No camera can capture the subtleties 
of this lunar rapture, the gravity 
she wields pulls at my heart, 

My core, my spirit soars 
My mind is sore from lack of sleep 
Her reach is long and deep 
Into the sea, the womb, the tide 

On a silver string of stars she rides 
and bids mournful goodbyes while 
drifting out of sight 
before first light 


and all that is dawn inexorable 
its coming heralded by singing, 
triumph of victory from the east, 
while the moon retires and almost 

impalpably hums softly, it croons 
its song. A more minor, a more 
melancholy, a more motherly 
tune. How forlornly calls the loon. 

Whooooooo are you calling 

but me to my bed and rest and dreams, 

respite from my pen and paper, the tyranny of 


the sleep I have which you affect 

even after you've long set. 

LOcLvta- Umjuo- -d- 


EilphxiuU odud OroJnJU. 

Once we were two bored teenagers aged 17 so we ran away together not 
in our bodies but in our minds. Do you get me? We jumped from 
Australia (why Australia?) to Paris (beautiful but snotty) to Saudi Arabia 
(vaginas permitted but strongly discouraged!) to Oregon (trees and 
coffee. Huh.). We were still bored. You smoked too much and turned 
ugly, and I played songs that went on for hours at a time. So then you 
asked me to dance and we did, home in Louisiana, because we had 
traveled the world over and why be bored in Paris when you can be bored 
AND understood in the States? We danced among the mosquitoes and 
egrets and the long southern drawl because that's our heritage and we 
were pretend lovers for a while. My palms got sweaty in the swamps 
though, and you accused me of being bored here too. I confessed that 
I was and then you confessed so were you. We dropped to our knees 
in despair. Then the Big Daddy toads started croaking for flies, and we 
started laughing and haven't ever stopped. We're in hell, we decided, if 
we can see everything there is to see and not be impressed. At least it's 
just hell though, because here we can laugh and not be split in two by a 
giant lightning bolt, or be love-bombed by total strangers who smell like 
avocados and money. So we were young, happy, and in love with not 
being in love. 
And that's it. 


"Remind me, what are we looking for again?" Her question 
went unheard, as he was intently shuffling through the sea of 
books upon which they sat. She picked up a nearby book and 
threw it at him. It landed on his head. 

"Ouch!" he exclaimed. "What?" 

"What are we looking for?" 

He rubbed his head, gazing at the books before them; they 
stretched for miles. 

"We're looking for a book called Love. It will tell us everything 
about love and how it works." 

She observed the books as well. "There must be thousands 
of them..." 

"Hundreds of thousands," he corrected. He continued dig- 
ging through the books, throwing them everywhere in appar- 
ent desperation. 

She continued searching too, albeit reluctantly. "I seriously 
doubt we'll find this book," she commented. 

"We will," he replied, "...we have to." 

They searched. And searched. And continued to search for 
what seemed like days. 

HaJLdJi JuMaoJL 


"It's pointless," she said, gasping for breath. "We won't find it." 

He was furious in his search; he never gave up. "It's fine, take 
a break. I'll keep looking." Sweat drenched his shirt; his face was 
scarred with fatigue. There was no way he could keep going, she 
thought to herself. 

She sighed, and looked away. In the distance she spotted an 
old book with what appeared to be an inscription similar to the one 
they were looking for. She stood and staggered over to it. 

"LOVE," it said, in large, fading gold letters. This was it. She had 
found it. 

"Here! I found it!" With renewed strength, she waved it high over 
her head so he could see it. 

He immediately stopped searching and turned to see it for him- 
self. He could hardly contain his excitement. 

"Open it! What does it say?" 

She dusted off the cover of the book and carefully opened it. 
After a moment, she looked up. 

"It's blank..." 


There once was a bear from Care-A-Lot 
He sighed and grunted and whined a lot 
He lived on a cloud, always under a shroud 
He wasn't too jolly... happy he was not. 


Y-./iur . *- | 

l4» .X ■ •» »^ «* ~ 


iUchaL^ CouaviMv 


fluit j&st ibs- 

There she go: 




Know she ain't got no money 

'Cause she ain't got no job 

Been waitin' years for her to wipe that smile off her face. 

No worries, you'd think 

But I know that's a lie 

Ain't got nothin' to do 

'Cause she ain't got no place to go 

and I 

Been waitin' years for her to wipe that smile off her face. 

Make me sick 





Same old dirty cup out for change 

Same old dirty sign 

Same old saying: 

"Homeless and Hungry. 

God Bless." 

Mama make me drop off a quarter every day 

Before I go to school. 

Make me sick, today more than yesterday, 

and yesterday more than the day before that. 

"Thank you, kindly, Miss. God bless you." 
She smiles. I am mad! 


I see it all in one big flash: 





"Why you always smiling like you ain't homeless?" 

You ain't got nothing to be smiling about. 

I bet it's cause my mama make me give you money every day? 

I bet it's cause you done suckered out so many people you rich? 

I bet you ain't even homeless. When we drive by at night, you ain't here. 

Where you go, then? I saw a show on T.V. about people like you. 

I told my mama you was a crook, but she don't wanna listen. 

'No she ain't, Lucille,' she say. "Now go take her this money. 

It ain't much, but it's all we got. And stop being so mean!" 
"Mean? I ain't mean. She the one mean, foolin' all these people!" 

I wait. (She looks.) 

I wait with my hand on my hip. (She looks with a smile on her face.) 

I'm mad. (She ain't.) 

I'm sho' nough mad! ("Little one, the joy of the Lord is my strength.") 


I look straight at her, but 
Ain't nothin' changed: 
I'm mad. (She ain't.) 







Sweet, dizzying perfumes of sex singe the nostrils 

At the crime scene (but not forgotten). A record.... 

Spinning, and outside the children remind me of Magellan-without 

Mercy, without glory. A bicycle lies in shambles near the place 

Of least suspicion. You should have seen her; 

Her hands told a different story than her words: 

Teeth clacking and fumbling syntax, fingers dancing a ballet 

On the coaster. A photograph of an obese 

Hummingbird haunts the kitchen, where 

The knives warred with the spoons. 

A taxi will carry sins across the River Styx. 
An ambulance is the hero's chariot. 
Lamenting howls from a heart-broken cat echo 
In a white room, where black night shines 
Through the Venetian blinds. Urine hits the palate 
And the faint gurgle of a toilet permeates the walls 
From the upstairs apartment.. .or is it coming from 
The basement? 

Too tired to tell, the sated spirals of the notebook 
Insist on my return home. I sneeze. 
Nothing more to see here. 


QrVUlMs KULJbd. 

these dual identities 
of clouds and shadows 
underneath interior-covered skies 
grey it was, or so the memory goes 

grey it was, or so the memory goes, 

the tales of romance and piracy 

hands slipping under shirts 

as the identities rubbed against one another 

the identities rubbing against one another 

waiting (or was it that simple?), 

in coy frustration 

for something that would never come 

neither identity coming 

except when they were alone 

with one another 

no, no, you misunderstand the riddle 

you misunderstand the riddle 
of how it was and is and will be 
underneath interior-covered skies 
there was and is and will be 

there is and was and will be 

no solution 

no coming 

no resolution 

no resolution 

to the things unsaid and undone 

the events of people 

who weren't themselves 


IMium- "K.oub£> 


who weren't themselves and yet 
and yet 
and yet.... 
weren't they? 

weren't they the same? 
a thrill like lightning 
to make a grown man 
stand up straight 

every hair stand up straight 
from stick to sternum, 
every piece of him alive 
and stunned as if charged 

as if charged by a natural event, 
that's what they call it, isn't it? 
when two bodies, two identities 
rub against one another? 

rubbing against one another 
with so many protons and electrons 
it will shock everyone who touches them 
a resident power so palpable 

so palpable 

that it had the potential to kill 

if it was touched 

like Sleeping Beauty's spindle 


the beautiful spindle 
within the deficit of fairy tale 
where no princes in white Fords 
roam empty streets which lead to 

empty streets lead to parking lots 

and baseball fields 

and playgrounds 

(did they not see how immature?) 

did they not see how immature, 

how positively (and negatively) 

childish it was 

with romantic ideas of love and eternity? 

so one identity said to the other, 
"Jenny" (because that's what he called her) 
"Jenny," he said, "I can't live a life like this 
where it's always a secret." 

"Where we, just by being ourselves, 
can kill anyone who touches us" 
(so said the proton to the electron), 
and do you know what she said? 

do you know what she said, 
which killed him? 

yes, that very thing 

that very thing is what killed him 

fill in the blank 

like a Mad Libs, only this 

is and was and will be no children's game 



■fJiouiUu-tL BaA/tPuL 

I love the open road. 

It's about rolling my windows down just a crack, leaning back, and 
feeling the air around me. 

It's about smelling the freshly cut grass on the highway at the exact 
time the song playing reminds me of the days my mom would wake 
me up mowing our two acres by herself. 

It's about that one song I listen to over, and over, and over again, 
going through so many emotions: excited at first, then sad, 
then angry, nostalgic, happy, and everything in-between. 
It's about that huge cherry coke I got from Sonic so I don't have to 
stop this wonderful ride. 

It's the amount of times I rehearse my next conversation with you, 
and the amount of times I go over the last. 

I love following directions and 

getting them right because 

at the end of the tunnel you are the light — 

you. are. my. direction. 

Come on a road trip with me. 

I want to drive you around and show you my world and I want to see 


I'll give you a guided tour of 

every part of me. 

We'll go down each old road of 


each old path of 


and then build roads that last. 


Let's make it a journey through each other and let's plan it fast 

because I've got places to go and things to do and songs to listen to 



And I don't want to settle down, yet, because 

you and I... 

we're as steady as a river but we've got the passion of a fire, 

so no matter where we rest our head we can 

rest easy 

knowing no one else will bring us higher — not 

higher than I am right now with you. Even if they do 

it will never compare because you keep me, 

the seeker, the driven one, 


and I keep you, 

the metronome, the loyal one, 


I have so much gratitude for you so I'll never give you 
attitude unless you start to become someone else. 

We are on a road trip together. We go through a lot 

and sit in different seats sometimes, but we're in the 

same car, 

going the 

same way. 

We're singing the same songs, seeing the same fields, 


the same things - each other. 

And I 

finally got a hold of that 

bottomless tank. 



^Jiaml B/oxruis/i 


You say that you're broken. Damaged. I tell you that we all are in some 
way. I try to see your wounds, to surreptitiously sneak a peek at the 
residual damage you claim. Each time I get almost close enough to catch 
a glimpse, you remind me about the movie. I get it. You're not the good 
guy. You're not the hero. This is how every prison rape scene starts. I 
get that. I see what you're doing and I know why. Did you ever stop to 
consider that maybe heroes and perfections aren't for everyone? You 
eventually extend your hand for me to hold. As I reach out to take it, 
I notice that the tips of all of your fingers are missing down to the first 
joint. So that's what you carry in your left front pocket. For luck? How 
did I miss the obvious? I know you're a thief because of what you took 
from me. I wrap my perfect, whole hand around your mangled one and 
squeeze. Hard. 



J to, CMbdtiU iittuu. 

Dear Mother, 

While I appreciate the fact that there was urgent work that required your 
undivided attention in the Congo, I felt that you may like to know that 
Aunt Janet suffered a serious fall yesterday. According to the doctors, 
she is likely to be in the hospital for quite some time. Having no other 
recourse, Aunt Janet has informed me that I am going to be staying with 
her co-worker Glenda and her family. I am fine with this, but I sincerely 
hope that this is no impediment to my studies. I don't foresee any prob- 
lems, but I thought I would let you know regardless. By the time this has 
reached you, I expect to be back at Aunt Janet's. I hope your study of 
the great apes is going well. 



Dear Mother, 

Your work sounds so interesting! I truly envy you! 
I thought I would let you know that Aunt Janet's rehabilitation 
is not going quite as quickly as hoped. I have been living with 
Glenda and her family for close to two weeks now, and though 
I am trying to make the best of the situation, the culture shock 
is severe. Though I have made every attempt at courtesy and 
always refer to Glenda as "Ms. Rogers," she has repeatedly told 
me to call her "Big" Glenda. This name, she says, comes not 
only from her size (which I can assure you is substantial), but 
also because she's "larger than life." I'm not exactly sure what to 
make of that. 

"Big" Glenda (pardon the familiarity, but she has threatened 
physical violence and I must accustom myself to the usage of 
this name. She was not joking about the violence, by the way.) is 
a very... intense woman. She is not so much a person as a tsu- 
nami of white trash, and adjusting has been extremely difficult 
for me. I am sharing a room with her two sons, Bean and Pretty 
Boy. Those are not nicknames, but their given names. "Big" 
Glenda proudly showed me Pretty Boy's birth certificate. Techni- 
cally, his first name is Pretty and his middle name Boy, which I 
found odd, but did not comment on. I am being forced to share a 
bed with Pretty Boy. He does not shower. 
Hopefully this inconvenience resolves itself soon. 



Dear Mother, 

I am taking things in stride, but it looks as if I shall be staying with Big 
Glenda for the foreseeable future. Aunt Janet is no better and simply not 
capable of looking after me. You have six more months in the Congo, 
yes? Big Glenda has told me that I am welcome to stay for the duration, 
but that I must "earn my keep." I am more than willing to do so, but I am 
not sure rolling her marijuana cigarettes is an efficient use of my time. At 
the rate she goes through them, I am likely to spend next Saturday doing 
nothing but "rolling joints" as Big Glenda calls it. While I know the usage 
of cannabis is illegal, I must note that Big Glenda is far more tolerable 
when under its effects. She even sat through my rendition of Hamlet's 
soliloquy and complimented me on my performance. Of course, this per- 
formance occurred in her living room and was initiated by her request that 
I "dance like a monkey" for her entertainment. The soliloquy was an idea I 
put forth as an act of compromise. I felt we both walked away pleased. 

Pretty Boy was arrested yesterday for attempting to steal the tires off of 
a police car... while the officer was still inside. This was purposeful on his 
part, as he remarked to me "Hey, watch this!" shortly before attempting it. 
I am not entirely sure that Pretty Boy is functioning at the full intellectual 
capacity of an individual his age. He has on numerous occasions hinted 
to me that he believes himself to have the ability to turn invisible. 

I have thus far played along, but I must confess that I see this ending only 
in tragedy. 



L 3hu CMutiui iittuu. 

Dear Mother, 

I implore you not to worry. I am in no more danger at the Rogers 
household than you are living with the great apes in Africa. 

You'll be happy to know that I received a 4.0 for the quarter, and 
won the science fair with a homemade construction of a Jacob's 
Ladder. I would have enclosed some photos, but Bean and Pretty 
Boy appropriated the device, convinced that they could use the 
electricity to kill all the fish in the pond behind the house. It did not 

Big Glenda is taking me to the shooting range tomorrow. She 
insists that someone like me needs to know how to defend them- 
selves. I recommended Jiu Jitsu, but she replied that the best way 
to avoid a fistfight was to "blow the bastards away until there ain't 
nothing left but pulp." Pardon the terminology, but that is an exact 
quote. I'm not sure who "the bastards" are exactly, but I feel that 
Big Glenda's ex-husband may be among their number. Pretty Boy 
and Bean are under the impression that he is a field operative 
for the CIA, but Big Glenda has confessed to me that he was last 
known to be working as a male prostitute in Dallas, TX. 

I hate to cut this short, but I volunteered to help burn excess Styro- 
foam behind the house. I think Big Glenda intends to BBQ over it. 



i>. Ztekuud 



Dear Mother, 

While I appreciate your concerns, please don't worry. I am doing more 
than fine. 

This past weekend I got to meet Big Glenda's oldest daughter, Sunny. 
She works as an exotic dancer in Las Vegas and, as Big Glenda de- 
scribed it, is the first member of the Rogers family to have graduated col- 
lege. I am not sure, but I don't think "Madame Rouge's College of Seduc- 
tive Dance" is an accredited institution. Still, like you I value education, 
and it heartens me to see someone further themselves in this world. 

This weekend we all have backstage passes to see Poison in concert. 
I'm not sure what "Hair Metal" is exactly, but Big Glenda assures me that 
it is an "important facet of American history." My words, not hers. Appar- 
ently she once served as a member of the road crew, and suspects that 
Sunny's father may be a member of the band. 

I am not altogether comfortable with some of the things Big Glenda 
shares with me. 



Dear Mother, 

No, there is no need to come home early. Your work with the apes is 
far more important, and I can handle any situation that arises here. 
Aunt Janet is doing well all things considered, but is still going to be 
hospitalized for the foreseeable future. You should have told me she 
was once addicted to painkillers, however. I fear I may be respon- 
sible for something dire. 

This past weekend I went to the movies with Big Glenda, Sunny, 
Pretty Boy, and Bean. Big Glenda said that it would be a good idea 
to sneak in all our own food, so I ended up bringing in two cans of 
sweet potatoes. Not a traditional cinema food, but the Rogers fam- 
ily is not traditional in many ways. We ended up seeing a film called 
"Passion in Paradise." Big Glenda is a huge fan of the "erotic thriller" 
genre. Indeed, just the other day we all gathered around the TV to 
watch Mickey Rourke's "9 and a Half Weeks." I must confess, this 
film raised far more questions than it answered, and I feel that there 
are things you have not adequately explained to me as a parent. 

For the past week, Big Glenda has been training me to spot and 
avoid security cameras. She has not yet told me what this is for, only 
that she has "something big" planned. When I offered my concerns 
about the legality of this potential plan, she laughed and said, "Who's 
the government to tell us what we can and can't do?" I'm not entirely 
sure I agree, but I must confess that her philosophy on rules evokes 
Ayn Rand in a number of ways. I mentioned this to her, but she 
seemed to be confused and kept remarking about a band called "A 
Flock of Seagulls." I'm not entirely sure what she was getting at, but 
then I find I rarely am. 



L 3hu CMutU tjttuu. 

Dear Mother, 

This letter is being written from jail, although we hope that 
Aunt Janet will have the bond posted soon. Perhaps you were 
right — It may be a good idea to return to the States. The list of 
charges is long. 



I did not confess to anything, but I have a feeling that they 

are assembling an exceptionally strong case. Just letting you 



To be alone 

Time set apart 

Wanted me near 

Knew I had their hearts 

Things to do 
Without family — you! 

Enjoyed it all 
Happiness set apart 


Asked me to come 

I would refuse 

One day they assumed 

Better things to do 

Happy when I knew 
Wanted me with you 

Given up at last 
No longer was I asked 

Felt so alone 
Stranger in their home 

Moving forward 
Children will be grown 

I choose each day 

Never be replaced 

Wife and children 

Empty daddy space 

To ask for daddy 

Those days have passed 

It's expected now 

Daddy takes a pass 

Didn't ask this time 

If I would come with you 

Dear family assumed 

Had better things to do 


the woods were a quiet place 

where trees could fall 

and the sound they made 

nobody really cared if they heard or not 

so I took my shotgun and 
a knife (just in case) because 
sometimes it's not as easy as it seems 
to kill a tree 

blast and a recoil 
to the bushy top 
hairy leaves scattered 
with paint 

it's just a game, right? 

nothing too dark 

or sinister here 

have you ever been in the woods at night? 

it's there that nobody really cares 

if they hear or not 

when trees fall and die 

I'd say that's pretty dark and sinister 



HldodML Zuik 

I lie awake at night, 

in your bed, white sheets orange batik duvet 

from one of the many tours you took before my time, 

my cheek creased in your pillow, 

the aroma of a counterfeit spring clinging in nasal passages. 

My body is pressed against yours, 

your thigh grasped between mine. 

Somewhere between crickets and mourning doves, 

you turn towards me, 

a security blanket crafted of skin stuffed with tissues 

the covering scarred form picking at scabs, imperfections. 

I lean into you, my black whole eats away at your body 
with the help of shadows, swallowing gulping 
shoulders, calves, nipples, cock — 
as my soul remains a raw angry spectrum of bruises, 
horrible yellows and purples and blues. 

Seed grows cold in corpses and I have yet to live. 
I will away my emptiness when I feel you inside me, 
the pulse through your body into mine for moments 
I am the second coming. 


"Is this register open?" 
"Do you have this in stock?" 
I'm only here in body; 
I'm just ridin' out the clock. 

"Can you do a price check?" 
"Does this come in another color?" 
I feel like I've been here all day, 
But I'm stuck here three more hours. 

I smile at the old lady 
Who has to write a check 
Because I'll go to jail, 
If I wring her by the neck. 

I'll pick up all the candy 
That kid just threw on the floor, 
But I'll curse him from behind 
As he's walking out the door. 

My boss will get a bonus 
If I push the hot new item; 
I think it's a piece of crap, 
And tell 'em not to buy 'em. 

Stuck here in this retail hell, 
I don't know if I can make it. 
I'm always polite and happy, 
But, believe me, I've learned to fake it. 


You throw in some crawfish and shrimp etouffee, 

Then add a HP jambalaya 

Wit' some dirty rice to taste. 

Add yo' hot sauce, 

And Tony Chacheres, 

There are only a couple more things 

This gumbo gone need... 

Put in some fried chicken, 

Greens, and combread, 

Don't forget to add the frog legs. 

Sprinkle some smothered pork chops, 

And chicken fried steak, 

Gumbo's almost done, 

But I don't think I can wait! 

Add just a pinch of dumplings, 

And biscuits wit' sausage gravy, 

And a lot of butter 

Will make it savory. 

Then last but not least add sweet tea, 

Of course the pot gone have to be jumbo, 

Cuz everybody gone be wanting this gumbo! 


Here it comes. 

The itchy, uncomfortable feeling 

Starting to engulf your senses 

With the wrinkle of your nose 

And the scrunch of your face 

The dust particles that were so peacefully resting in your air holes 

Are disturbed. 

A sudden windstorm comes and blows them out into space 


Automatic, monotonous "Bless You"s fill the room. 

"Thank you," I say. 

I wonder 

Why do people say "bless you?" 

Is it because my heart just stopped? 

Or is it because evil spirits filled my body when I sneezed? 

Haha, I think to myself 

I just died. I am... a death conqueror. 

I smile at my amazing death defying skills. 

I wonder 

Do others think the same thing when they sneeze? 

Do the random thoughts of constant "why?"s roam their minds? 

Achoo! Achoo! 

Another girl with bright red strings growing from her head exclaims. 


Again... here comes the robot-like "Bless You"s 

I turn and stare at her pensively. 

Hmm, does she think about other people thinking about what people think 


If she does... we are perfect for each other. 

Glowing strings of fire... I think I love you. 

But if that is not true 

I am but lonely in my thoughts. 

A little world of my own, 

The same as no one else's. 





tCo&b (husMjdiAiLf- 

He sits there, 
Still and Alone... 

Cold, Sick, and Silent... 

Scared and Anxious too. 

Stressed and Nervous, 
Sees no change at all... 

All he Needs to do is Dance. 

All he Needs to do is Dance. 

When, all he Needs to do is Dance. 

All he Needs to do is Dance. 

All he Needs to do is, 


Back to where he was and where he came from. 
He forgot the movement he grew into, 
The movement which taught him, 
To be happy — happy feet, little tiny feet, 
Dancing away in his mother's kitchen at the tender age of two. 


Who's to say why he forgot the movement, 
He just Forgot, 



Who he was and still is... 

To his tiny dancing shoes, 
Put them on once more, 
And change his life. 

He needs to 


Black and white will become color, 
He will be held together forever, 
His youth will meld with his future. . . 

He does have one to Dance for. 



Broken bones speak subtle tones of defeat. 
Huddled figures are fallen Titans, so old, 
Molding one mound of marrow missing meat. 

Mighty tusks, uproot the earth! On a sheet 
Of history, these mastodons have told— 
Broken bones speak subtle tones of defeat. 

Femurs of behemoths lie in the street. 

Bleached bones bake in the sun, freeze in the cold, 

Molding one mound of marrow missing meat. 

To mass graves, marching, steady hearts will beat, 
Blasting requiem through trumpets most bold. 
Broken bones speak subtle tones of defeat. 

Brothers, sisters, children treading sleet 
Together. At last, their warm hides are sold, 
Molding one mound of marrow missing meat. 

Vultures who swarm these white mountains do eat 
Treasures of unity, unlocking gold. 
Broken bones speak subtle tones of defeat, 
Molding one mound of marrow missing meat. 


GwtnA&ri On Orouiv 

£wl CtouttiObb 

Tiptoeing on blades of grass 
While rain bears down fast 
Her teardrops falling like glass 

Watching as time makes a pass 
She finds the dark so vast 
Tiptoeing on blades of grass 

Her soul unwilling to surpass 
Folded in wet silk. Trapped in a cast 
Her teardrops falling like glass 

Eclipsed in shadow she senses the mass 
Their eyes search for a source of the blast 
She's still tiptoeing on blades of grass 

They find her reflection in cracks 

The crimson silk. Trapped in a steel grasp 

Their teardrops falling like glass 

In silence they mourn the lass 
The crimson on jade imprint in such contrast 
From her tiptoeing on blades of grass 
And her tears made of glass 


Let's dance, you and I, by the light of the moon, 
In the sight of a soft sweet song 
Of the waves as they wash the wet warm beach 
With sweet soft touch of white-tipped foam. 

The stars give us light as our feet take their flight, 

Our toes taste tenderly the sands 

And sing of the moon to the soul of the earth 

As they craft subtle craters into which worlds careen. 

The wind and the waves make a sweet serenade 
Where the surf and the sea kiss tenderly, 
Like a small child laughing to the bright daylight 
As the world is reborn again. 

So what I must say is this, my dear: 

That you are the light of my life; 

And your soul speaks to me of the surf and the sea 

As they kiss, eternally. 



itltm- ifUus Yuu* 

-iYbxrUL- dwUjStJU. 


One day, 

I was asked 

jf I was a man 

or a mouse. 

What a ponder 

this created 

In my mind. 

Man or mouse, indeed. 

Another day, 

I was a mouse 

and ran around. 

What a tyrant! 

What a mouse! 

What a cheese-stealer! 

Indeed, a mouse. 

The other day, 
I was man 
and was beaten 
by Germans, Jews, 
and Spaniards. 
How sad 
this man was; 
how sad, indeed. 


I asked 

what was the change 

between will 

to power 

and power 

to will? 

Indeed, a tyrant 

in either case. 


duMUi City £udvU 

Jane, I say, 
Jane write me a 
story, you plain girl 
and tell me how 
incorrigible you find me 
tell everyone for years 
to come shining light 
on the monster 
Jane, I say, 
Jane, you silly girl 
put down that 
fucking pen 
why can't you be 
normal and read 
instead of writing 
like a sensible girl